Tua Tagovailoa got some very good news this week. He has been cleared to start working out after a clean hip evaluation four months after the injury during the game against Mississippi State, and may throw at Alabama’s Pro Day next month.
News of his good health can only help his NFL Draft stock. Tua was already expected to go in the top five, with the one lingering question being his long term health. While this latest scan may not erase all creeping doubts about his ability to stay healthy, it sounds like this particular injury has healed as well as anyone could’ve hoped. His Draft situation is probably the most interesting in the entire field as a result.
Both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, ESPN’s two main draft analysts who don’t always agree on prospects, think Tua should be in the mix at No. 2 overall if he’s healthy. Of course, the team in that spot, the Washington Redskins, took a first round quarterback last year, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. While he didn’t have a great rookie year, he definitely started to turn things around by season’s end.
The Arizona Cardinals made an interesting gambit just last year, drafting Kyler Murray a year after Josh Rosen in the first round. That has worked out pretty well. That doesn’t mean Washington is set to do the same. Owner Dan Snyder, who has significant influence over big decisions like this, is a big Haskins fan. He also has his sights on another former Buckeye.
On the Tua-to-Washington buzz, a source familiar with Snyder's thinking told me: “I don’t think Dan Snyder would want that.”
Snyder & Rivera have detailed a "coach-centered" power structure. Why Washington's decision at No. 2 pick may come down to that:https://t.co/nRYf9Tl1ia
— Kalyn Kahler (@kalynkahler) March 11, 2020
Since hiring former Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, someone seen as a stabilizing force for the franchise, Snyder has said the right things. He’s discussed a “coach-centric” vision for the franchise, and insists that Rivera will lead the way on major decisions like this.
A source quoted by Sports Illustrated/MMQB writer Kalyn Kahler doesn’t see Snyder being okay with that type of major change at the most important position. Instead, they say that the ‘Skins owner is “infatuated” with Chase Young, Haskins’ former teammate who has long been connected to Washington at No. 2.
“I don’t think [Washington owner] Dan [Snyder] would want that,” says a source familiar with the organization’s thinking. “He wants to give Haskins the opportunity and I think Dan is infatuated with [Ohio State defensive end] Chase Young.”
“It makes for a nice offseason to just say, Hey, this is coach-centric and all that … I know that it is still Dan’s team. I know what he wanted to do with Haskins and I know what he wants to do with Young so I don’t see that changing. I would be shocked if they did anything different at quarterback.”
If Washington acts as expected, Tua Tagovailoa could go No. 3 to the Detroit Lions, if they want to start planning for life after Matthew Stafford, the Miami Dolphins at No. 5, or to any number of other teams that may choose to jump up and take him.